Born into a prominent Grand Rapids, Michigan, family in 1931, John Hunting pursued an interest in education, psychology, and performance art as a young adult. With a degree in guidance counseling, he taught briefly and then worked through foundations toward community building and conservation of the environment. He initiated the Dyer-Ives Foundation.
John Hunting was born at Blodgett Hospital on November 7, 1931. His father, David Dyer Hunting, Sr. was one of the founders of Steelcase. John went to school in East Grand Rapids and then attended Cranbrook Academy in Bloomfield Hills. He took classes at the University of Michigan but was drafted and spent two years in the army. He eventually got a degree in guidance counseling from the University of Michigan and returned to Cranbrook as a teacher. He attended Grace Episcopal Church as a child and later moved to Fountain Street Church.
The Hunting family has been centrally important in Grand Rapids in the furniture industry and philanthropy. John’s grandparents, parents, and siblings have given of their time and wealth to numerous key organizations, and he has continued the tradition through the Dyer-Ives Foundation and other work.
Ties to the Philanthropic Sector
When he was thirty-five years old, John established the Dyer-Ives Foundation named after his two grandmothers, and he ran it for fifteen years. After that, he moved to New York City and Washington, D.C., where he developed his interest in the environment. He continued to work through foundations to support causes of interest to him, especially environmental conservation. The Hunting family gave the lead gift in honor of David Hunting, Sr. for the downtown Grand Rapids YMCA that opened in July 2005. It was the first YMCA in the country to earn LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification.
Key Related Ideas
John is a member of the third generation of the Hunting family that is successful and influential in the furniture industry and philanthropy in Grand Rapids. He is the founder of the Dyer-Ives Foundation and has worked extensively through other foundations. Environmental conservation is one of his main areas of interest.
Important People Related to the Topic
- David D. Hunting, Jr.: John’s brother was born in 1926 and became a senior executive at Steelcase. He was on the board of the Steelcase Foundation until his death in 2007. He was also a major philanthropist in Grand Rapids.
- David Dyer Hunting, Sr.: David was John’s father and one of three men to found Steelcase. Hunting joined the company in 1912, two years after Peter Wege, Sr. and Walter Idema. David Hunting, Sr. was a major philanthropist in Grand Rapids, including as one of the founders of the Steelcase Foundation.
- Mary Ives Hunting: John’s mother was born April 4, 1900 and married his father in 1925. The Mary Ives Hunting Motion Analysis Center at Mary Free Bed Hospital and Rehabilitation Center is named for her. She died in 2002 at the age of 102.
Related Nonprofit Organizations
- Dyer-Ives Foundation: The mission of the Dyer-Ives Foundation is to build capacity in those grassroots, neighborhood organizations and related efforts that address issues of systemic poverty or diminish a sense of isolation among residents of the central city of Grand Rapids, Michigan. http://www.dyer-ives.org/
- Steelcase Foundation: The philanthropic arm of the global leader in the office furniture industry, the Foundation targets its grantmaking in the areas of human service, health, education, community development, the arts, and the environment. Special attention is given to programs that serve the elderly, disabled, youth, and the disadvantaged as they attempt to improve the quality of their lives.
Bibliography and Internet Sources
Carron , Christian. Grand Rapids Furniture: The Story of America’s Furniture City. Grand Rapids: The Grand Rapids Public Museum, 1998. ISBN: 0966652401
Olson, Gordon. Steelcase: the First 75 Years. Grand Rapids: Steelcase, Inc., 1987.
Clipping file and oral history in the SOUL of Philanthropy collection in the Grand Rapids History and Special Collections of the Grand Rapids Public Library